People moving to a new city view the experience as either a great adventure or an incredibly stressful hassle. Like most everything else in life it’s what you make of it. Attitude is key when reducing stress in relocation.
First the adventure part. Making friends with a new city can be a process of discovery for the individual and the family together. There’s a sense of excitement of anticipation even a sense of the pioneer spirit in navigating new terrain.
Imagine discovering new favorite restaurants parks places to shop new routes home from the office. Relocation means looking at things with a fresh eye.
Much of the inconvenience and many of the problems involved with relocating can be avoided by doing your homework of gathering proper information. Whether your move will be nearly stress less or overly stressful depends a lot on you. So try to focus on the positive. This is an opportunity to start fresh to improve the elusive “quality of your life.”
But what about the stress of packing up lock stock and barrel of stepping out from your present comfort zone? There’s no question that relocating can be intimidating to the most adventurous soul. It’s only natural that breaks from our daily routines create discomfort and inconvenience. Recognize this and deal with those emotions.
The relocation process is a combination of big and small – from selecting a neighborhood and purchasing a home to where to find your new favorite shops. Understand that it will take time to feel at home. But once you do there can be a strong feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. You did it!
The list that follows of pre-move preparations will help you cope.
- You are holding in your hands one of your most useful tools – the Relocation Guide™. This Guide will answer the questions most commonly asked about your new city and the surrounding communities. So read it thoroughly to acquaint yourself with the area.
- A telephone directory from your new area is also useful. It can be ordered through your local telephone company. If your spouse is giving up a job a head start can be made setting up interviews with local companies or employment agencies. Professional organizations can be contacted for membership information. Retailers can be identified. Professional services can be located.
- Order the local newspaper. The current events will give you an idea as to what’s happening in your new city. Also the local advertising can help you get acclimated.
- Talk to your company’s human resources or relocation department and know what the policies and services are. Assistance varies from company to company but you’ll probably find some type of help.
- Get out your directories – professional alumni or fraternal. Look for people in your new area. Call and try to get answers to those questions that are really bothering you.
- Be sure to have a detailed street map and study the roads from your new home to shopping areas and schools. There’s nothing worse than feeling totally lost in a new city. When you arrive drive around to get acquainted.
- Allow yourself some time to get settled and meet the neighbors before you have to start work. Also if you move during the summer months your children will be able to meet new friends before school starts. The first day of school will be easier if they know somebody.
- Remember the move may also create feelings of stress in your children. Be sure to talk to them about the move and consider them while house hunting. Listen to their ideas as to how to decorate their new room. They’re people too and may feel that they have no control over what’s happening to them. Go out of your way to give them some sense of control.
- Contact the local school board for information about the school your children will attend. Arrange a meeting with the homeroom teacher and your children. Conduct a trial run from the school’s entrance to the homeroom. That way your children will feel more at home on the first day.
- Finally relax and start enjoying your new surroundings. One day soon you’ll look back and wonder what you were so nervous about. After all six million Americans change homes every year.
Relocation for Kids
Moving to a new area can be an unnerving experience for adults but for kids the experience can be downright traumatic. The prospect of leaving friends school and familiar settings can cause serious problems at a time when parents already have their hands full.
More than anything else children fear the unknown: What will my new school be like? Who will my new friends be? Can I still be a Scout? Will I ever see my old friends? Will my new room be as nice as my old room? The more information you give a child in advance about his new environment the more secure he’ll feel about the move. Here are some techniques parents can use to smooth the transition:
- Neighborhood: Before you buy ask your realtor to help you find out if there are many children in the same age range as yours in the neighborhoods you’re considering. When visiting your new town an after-school drive-by will give you a pretty good idea.
- Schools: If at all possible visit the new school with your child preferably while school is still in session so your child can get a picture of it in his mind. Ask the principal and guidance counselor if there are special programs at the start of a new school year for new students. School officials may be able to refer you to one or two local children who will serve as “buddies” or pen pals for your child before school starts.
- Activities: Ask your realtor the local chamber of commerce or newcomer’s club for contact lists of organizations which offer activities for children. If possible make arrangements prior to moving for your child to be enrolled in groups or activities of special interest. Knowing the name of his new Little League team or his new Scout troop number will give your child something positive to think about. Encourage your child to become active with clubs and/or sports as soon as you move. The faster children get involved and start making new friends the faster they adjust.
- The New Home: At the start of the home buying process involve your children very directly – ask them what they like and dislike about your current home how they would like to decorate their new bedroom. Open discussions not only generate excitement and give the child some sense of control they help the parents define their home buying needs.
- The Moving Process: To keep children enthusiastic about the move during the time prior to moving day involve them in the preparation process. Give them a photo of the home’s exterior to show to their friends and a sketch of the floor plan of their room so they can plan where they want to place their possessions. Begin to orient them to their new area by showing them on a map the locations of the nearest parks schools movie theaters and other attractions.
A child who is motivated about a move and comfortable with the idea of a new environment can make the experience more pleasant for parents as well. When you relieve the stress your children are feeling you reduce your own stress enormously. Then you are freer to concentrate more clearly on the other aspects of your move.
Moving with your Pet
Make sure your pet is in the best possible physical condition. Before the move schedule a checkup at a veterinarian clinic making sure your pet receives preventative treatments such as vaccination and deworming.
Ask your veterinarian about regional diseases which a pet might encounter. With cats there is a concern about their catching feline leukemia which is a viral-transmitted cancer. In urban areas where more cats are apt to run loose there is a greater chance of transmission. Have a new ID tag made before you move. Pets are most often lost soon after a move since they are confused about where home is.
Pet Travel Considerations
Before the long drive acclimate your pet to travel by taking it on short trips. When traveling some of the same considerations given children apply to pets. Give them plenty of breaks. Anticipate thirst with conveniently carried water or chopped ice. Exercise your pet at the beginning of each day of travel allowing enough time for the emptying of bladder and bowels. Restrict food intake to half portions at the end of the day. When stopping to eat leaving the pet in a closed car is dangerous as heat prostration can happen very rapidly. This problem can be handled by eating in shifts leaving someone to tend to the pet.
In making rest stops go off the expressway to avoid the possibility of your pet contracting Parvo disease a serious intestinal canine disorder transmitted by dog stool. Check ahead with hotels or motels regarding any pet restrictions for overnight stays.
What To Do if Flying
Plane travel may mean some type of tranquilization for your pet. Animals should not be fed before the flight but should be given plenty of water. Arrange to have access to the baggage compartment to be able to provide your pet with exercise and water during layovers. Check ahead of flight time as some airlines allow one small pet per plane to be stored under a seat. Have correct documentation for air travel – certificates of vaccinations and medical checkups and a medical history summary. Inter-state certificates may be required by some carriers.
Once You’ve Arrived
Make the transition smooth by helping to re-establish your pet’s habits. You can expect some different behavior patterns like aggressive acts or accidents in the house when the pet experiences a change in its normal activities.
You might want to temporarily confine your dog to a smaller room or cage to prevent accidents that can occur. For cats reintroduce them to the litter box with placement of several throughout the new house for a week or so then gradually withdraw them. With any aged pet going to the bathroom in the house might become a problem. Pets are creatures of habit and changes can cause anxiety.
From the animal’s standpoint is there easy access to the bathroom area outside is the yard fenced is the litterbox in an accessible location. When outside walk your pets along the property line get them used to their new territory and consider having a fence installed before you move in.
Last Words of Advice
If there were pets in the house before you may want to fumigate to fend off possible parasitic and odor problems by having a carpet cleaning company clean the carpets with an odor neutralizer prior to your moving in. Keep in mind that a change in water with different mineral content could affect your pet.
The well-equipped moving company will transport the contents of your house without the slightest bother or help from you. However you can save several hundred dollars on the average truckload if you do the packing yourself.
After donating the things you can live without to charity or holding a garage sale here are handy hints:
- When gathering empty boxes from your local supermarket look for smaller ones that you can lift easily even when full of books. The sturdier the better.
- Make full use of drawers suitcases the space in your refrigerator or old purses as packing containers. However do not overload drawers with heavy items because this can damage the furniture during transit.
- Compartmented cartons (such as liquor comes in) are ideal for glassware and small knickknacks.
- Ask variety or dry goods store owners for cardboard tubes. Use these for wall hanging posters curtain rods etc.
- Wrap all breakable dishes separately (first in tissue then newsprint; ink from papers may stain fine china) and use washcloths or aprons to fill up the empty spaces.
- When packing odd items (tools heavy pans sports equipment) put the things that weigh most at the bottom for better balance.
- Throw rugs and towels make excellent padding for fragile items.
- Pack similar items together.
- Pin or otherwise secure clothing on hangers to be moved in wardrobes so that vibration or bumps will not cause them to slip off.
- Empty refrigerator and freezer so they can dry for at least 24 hours to prevent mildew and unpleasant odors.
- Perfume medicine nail polish re-mover and anything else that could leak and ruin other items should be tightly sealed with tape and placed in separate plastic bags.
- Empty all gasoline engines fuel-burning camping equipment etc.
- Remember: You must be ready to pay the movers as soon as you arrive.
Things Not to Pack
- Valuable jewelry furs silver photos auto ownership records insurance policies medical and dental records and other special documents and coin or stamp collections are best transported by yourself.
- Anything that could possibly leak explode or be a fire hazard. Discard all aerosol cans old cans of paint bleach alcohol cleaning fluid etc.
- Do not transport ammunition fireworks matches or chemistry sets.
- Transport house plants in the family car or they may suffer from lack of water and light and probable temperature changes. Some states prohibit entry of certain plants. Better yet give them to friends or donate them to a hospital.
- Do not pack perishable foods.
Dual Career Moves
Only about 12 percent of American households consisting of married couples are dependent on a sole male breadwinner. This contrasts sharply with 1950 when the number was about 60 percent. Back then and for many years that followed the main reason for relocating was the transfer of the husband and father to a position in a different region or his choice to take a better paying job in a different part of the country. In either case the decision was usually made by the man of the house and his employer.
Considerations of other family members were secondary and since most households were one-income there was little in the way of alternatives. The boss told the breadwinner he had to move; he told his family. And that was that.
Today such matters are generally more complicated and for the most part much fairer than they used to be. The needs and aspirations of wives and mothers have a significant impact on the decision whether to relocate.
Often relocation is not economically feasible – despite a raise in pay for one person – if the result is a temporary or long-term loss of income for the spouse. A successful relocation may depend upon how well and quickly a trailing spouse finds employment which satisfies him or her financially and emotionally.
When a dual-career couple relocates the challenge becomes making an opportunity for one an opportunity for both. Today relocation is one of the most drastic changes facing a dual-career couple.
With a relocation come immediate changes such as new friends new professional network new jobs as well as new schools church and neighborhoods. For the trailing partner the relocation means finding employment in a new environment without a professional network or knowledge of the area.
A successful job search is a combination of preparation research and a carefully executed plan. A relocation provides an opportunity to conduct a life planning assessment. This process involves carefully looking at goals values direction and important issues for the individual and family. Think of the job search as a job that begins before the actual move and begin early. Here are some steps that serve as a reminder of the avenues to explore when seeking a job in a new area.
- Contact any professional or trade association office in both your current and the new area. They may have leads or a job bank on available positions.
- Ask your current employer and co-workers about their knowledge of opportunities in your hometown-to-be.
- Read the national trade journals that may have job listings or classified ads. Read the classified ads in the local newspapers of your new city. (A subscription to the Sunday paper can be ordered by phone or find a local bookstore to order it.)
- Explore whether an employment agency or headhunter specializing in your field is a good option. Locate them through the Yellow Pages or a trade directory. Research this carefully to determine if you or the company pays their fees.
- Ask your realtor if they offer any job spouse assistance. Typically they have substantial insight on the local economy job market and leading firms.
- The personnel or relocation department working with the relocating spouse may assist in the job search or have contacts on the other end to help. Ask them.
- Visit your new area and consult with local people in the profession before you move. There is no substitute for an in-person look around.